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					Jews-msg - 11/30/98
Medieval Jews, Jewish personas.

NOTE: See also the files: Khazars-msg, fd-Jewish-msg, Islam-msg, Middle-East-msg,
Arabs-msg, Palestine-msg.

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NOTICE -

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have
collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to
1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files
are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics
were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was
removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no
claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The
copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is
published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

Thank you,
    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous
                                          Stefan at florilegium.org
************************************************************************

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca,rec.heraldry,alt.heraldry.sca
From: sbloch at silver.cs.umanitoba.ca (Stephen Bloch)
Subject: Re: Jewish heraldry?
Organization: Computer Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1993 23:32:03 GMT

sbraslau at uhunix.uhcc.hawaii.EDU (Stacy Braslau-Schneck) writes:
>I read somewhere that Jews did not usually have a heraldic device of their
>own, but instead used the device of the town in which they lived - at
>least in Spain.

As I mentioned in another post a few minutes ago, the Jewish community
in a city of Christian Europe typically had a contract binding them
personally to the local ruler. The Jewish community was the ruler's
"property" in almost the same sense as his personal servants were. As
such, it makes sense for them to claim that bond heraldically.

I have seen the flag of the Jewish community of Prague (the flag
currently hanging in the synagogue dates from the 16th century),
which apparently was used whenever the community processed to the
castle to renew their contract with the King, to ask him a boon as a
group, or anything like that. (Pause while I go dig out the slide I
took of it....) This flag (or the part of it I can see in the slide
without using a projector) doesn't have any obvious symbols of Prague,
just a Jew's hat within a Star of David within a bordure of Hebrew
script. (Background maroon, charges and script gold.)

I think the main reason "Jews didn't usually have a heraldic device of
their own" is that very few of them were of noble families. Jewish
communities, and trade guilds with significant Jewish membership,
certainly had group heraldic symbols (which we would call "badges" in
SCA heraldry).

>As a Jewish persona from Spain, would I be allowed to use the real devices
>of Leon or Toledo or wherever? Or the "real" device of my local barony
>(which seems to consist of a completely un-period Hawaiian outrigger
>canoe, so looks very un-Medival, at least to me)?

Well, the outrigger canoe probably dates into or before the European
Middle Ages, but I agree it would certainly look jarring at an
allegedly European feast or court.

More to the point, read the article on "Flags and Banners in the SCA"
in Compleat Anachronist 50, "Armorial Display". It points out that
many Kingdoms (and perhaps Baronies) have agreed to allow any citizen
thereof to use the group badge in the "hoist" of their own standards,
where there would have been a national insignia in the Middle Ages.

Arval?   Any words of wisdom on this?

                           mar-Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib
                                 Stephen Bloch
                               sbloch at cs.umanitoba.ca


From: hjfeld at acs.bu.edu (harold feld)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Jews in the Middle Ages (was:Religion, Sutton Hoo, and Bob)
Date: 15 Mar 93 00:44:50 GMT
Organization: Boston University, Boston, MA, USA

Unto all who read these words, greetings from Yaakov!

In article <C3s8nq.vE at acsu.buffalo.edu> v081lu33 at ubvmsd.cc.buffalo.edu (Kenneth
C Mondschein) writes:

>     Firstly, I, like many newbies in the SCA, feel compelled to
>adopt a persona. OF course, religion was a *MAJOR* part of the Medieval
>mindset, and if I'm to have a realistic persona, should be a part of
>my mindset, too.
>     This is where the problem comes in. I'm Jewish, and there were
>not many gently-born Jews in either the Middle Ages or early Renaissance
>(I'm not sure when families such as the Rothschilds began to gain influence).
>I would either have to choose a personae from the Middle East, perhaps
>Byzantium, or that really obscure kingdom from around the Caspian Sea. Ergo,
>I have a little problem: I can either be compelled to burn myself at the stake,
>or have my choice of personae severely limited.
>     (Of course, I'd also be more than happy just dressing up in armor
>and concentrating on the stick jock aspects of this, but, hey, that's just me.



Edited by Mark S. Harris                 Jews-msg             Page 2 of 23
I feel compelled to respond to this, as a I hear it fairly frequently.
The range of the Jewish experience in the Middle Ages is far more
complex than most people believe.
In Europe, the Jewish experience is marked by periods of tolerance
and periods of oppression. Anyone who wishes to select a
European Jewish persona can manage to find a tolerant zone with
a bit of research, or can assume that they are living in one.
As a genearl rule, things are good in Europe after the Visogoths
and before the Crusades. The Crusades ushered in an era of the
erosion of Jewish/Christian relations and the Plague finished it.
It is after the Plague that the Jewish/Christian relationship is
characterized in terms of the ghetto and little or no social
interaction. At least in Central Europe. In Eastern Europe, things
go reasonably well until the Chmelniski Pogroms of 1648-9 (known
in Jewish history as Tach v'Tat, after the years in the Jewish
Calendar.) After this, things remain generally awful and oppressive
through to the Enlightment and the 20th century.

Of course, the above represents a gross over-simplification. My point
is merely that Jewish history does not present the uniform picture of
oppression and suffering most believe it does. Rather, the Jews swung
from the good times to the really bad times, evolving a richness of
culture and experience that are seldom appreciated today even by
Jews ( at #$! Socialist Zionists!).

Yaakov (who could go on at length but knows better)


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca,rec.heraldry,alt.heraldry.sca
From: mittle at watson.ibm.com (Arval Benicoeur)
Subject: Re: Jewish heraldry?
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 93 13:59:34 GMT
Organization: IBM T. J. Watson Research

Stacy Braslau-Schneck writes:
> >I read somewhere that Jews did not usually have a heraldic device of their
> >own, but instead used the device of the town in which they lived - at
> >least in Spain.

And Stephen Bloch writes:

>   As I mentioned in another post a few minutes ago, the Jewish community in
>   a city of Christian Europe typically had a contract binding them
>   personally to the local ruler.... I think the main reason "Jews didn't
>   usually have a heraldic device of their own" is that very few of them
>   were of noble families.

Stephen, I know your learning in this field, but I believe you are
over-generalizing. The belief that Stacy mentioned in widespread, but
inaccurate. I had the pleasure of editting an excellent article on Jewish
heraldry in the Middle Ages, written for publication in the proceedings of
the Known World Heraldic Symposium (of the SCA) by Lord Eleazar ha-Levi.
He found extensive evidence of Jewish nobility, Jewish knights, and Jewish
armigers. His article appears in the 1989 proceedings, which are in print
and available from Free Trumpet Press.
===========================================================================
Arval Benicoeur                                       mittle at watson.ibm.com


Edited by Mark S. Harris                Jews-msg              Page 3 of 23
From: velde2 at jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu (Francois Velde)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca,rec.heraldry,alt.heraldry.sca
Subject: Re: Jewish heraldry?
Date: 15 Mar 1993 09:39:22 -0500
Organization: Homewood Academic Computing, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md,
USA

sbloch at silver.cs.umanitoba.ca (Stephen Bloch) writes:
>sbraslau at uhunix.uhcc.hawaii.EDU (Stacy Braslau-Schneck) writes:
>>I read somewhere that Jews did not usually have a heraldic device of their
>>own, but instead used the device of the town in which they lived - at
>>least in Spain.
>
>As I mentioned in another post a few minutes ago, the Jewish community
>in a city of Christian Europe typically had a contract binding them
>personally to the local ruler. The Jewish community was the ruler's
>"property" in almost the same sense as his personal servants were. As
>such, it makes sense for them to claim that bond heraldically.
>
>[flag of the community of Prague described]
>
>I think the main reason "Jews didn't usually have a heraldic device of
>their own" is that very few of them were of noble families. Jewish
>communities, and trade guilds with significant Jewish membership,
>certainly had group heraldic symbols (which we would call "badges" in
>SCA heraldry).

Once again, the right to bear arms was not limited to nobles: so Jews,
without being nobles, could bear arms, at least in principle.

In practice I can give two examples of coats of arms belonging to Jews:

1) Kalonymos ben Todros, a.k.a. Momet Tauros, living in Narbonne around
1300, had a lion rampant on his shield.

2) Nostradamus, the famous astrologer, bore: Gules, a wheel broken
between each spoke or. Since the color of the charge was too clear a
reminder of the bearer's origins, a descendant had the arms changed to
quarterly, 1 and 4 Argent a wheel sabel; 2 and 3 Argent an eagle's head
erased sable.

Reference: R. Mathieu (1946), _Le Systeme Heraldique Francais_, p. 41.

--

      Francois Velde


Article 35299 of rec.org.sca:
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca,rec.heraldry,alt.heraldry.sca
From: sbloch at silver.cs.umanitoba.ca (Stephen Bloch)
Subject: Re: Jewish heraldry?
Organization: Computer Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

Arval Benicoeur and Francois Velde very gently correct my


Edited by Mark S. Harris              Jews-msg              Page 4 of 23
overgeneralizations:
JiE>I think the main reason "Jews didn't usually have a heraldic device of
JiE>their own" is that very few of them were of noble families. Jewish
JiE>communities, and trade guilds with significant Jewish membership,
JiE>certainly had group heraldic symbols (which we would call "badges" in
JiE>SCA heraldry).

FV>Once again, the right to bear arms was not limited to nobles: so Jews,
FV>without being nobles, could bear arms, at least in principle.

I had meant to say something to this effect, but it got lost between
conception and keyboard. My IMPRESSION is that in most of Europe, in
most of the Middle Ages, there was no formal prohibition against
commoners bearing heraldic arms, but the entities who had reason to do
so were predominantly either noble families, professional guilds, or
"communities", e.g. the city of Hamburg or the Jewish community of
Prague. Owain Oxherd (or even Sam Shopkeeper) had no need for a
personal or family coat of arms, and wouldn't be likely to go to the
trouble of designing, emblazoning, and publicizing one.

FV>In practice I can give two examples of coats of arms belonging to Jews:
...

There are at least two examples reprinted (in B&W, alas) in Rudin's
"History of Jewish Costume". One is an heraldic device, painted on a
shield, whose major charges are three Jewish hats (the sailor-style
version, not the broad-brimmed and spiked version); Rudin suggests
this device was not actually of a Jewish family but rather a cant on
the family name "Jude". The second is a seal, probably of a Jewish
family or individual, consisting of three Jewish hats (broad-brimmed,
spiked and balled) conjoined at the balls.

Arval said something about there being no lack of Jewish nobles,
Jewish knights, etc. in the historical record, and recommended an
article on the subject in the 1989 KWHS Proceedings. I've heard of
this article, and have intended to acquire and read it for some
time, but for a deplorable shortage of round tuits. Thanks for
reminding me about it.

                           mar-Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib
--
                                 Stephen Bloch
                               sbloch at cs.umanitoba.ca


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca,rec.heraldry,alt.heraldry.sca
From: nusbache at epas.utoronto.ca (Aryk Nusbacher)
Subject: Re: Jewish heraldry?
Organization: University of Toronto - VELUT ABOR AEVO
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1993 02:26:01 GMT

In article <C3yGu3.HHw at ccu.umanitoba.ca> sbloch at silver.cs.umanitoba.ca (Stephen
Bloch) writes:

>... Owain Oxherd (or even Sam Shopkeeper) had no need for a
>personal or family coat of arms, and wouldn't be likely to go to the
>trouble of designing, emblazoning, and publicizing one.


Edited by Mark S. Harris                 Jews-msg             Page 5 of 23
Nobody told Sam Shopkeeper how unlikely it was ... bourgeois families,
including Jews, went to the trouble of designing, emblazoning and
publicising coats of arms throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Italian jewry was notably rich in heraldry.

Aryk Nusbacher


From: Suze.Hammond at f56.n105.z1.fidonet.org (Suze Hammond)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Religion, Sutton Hoo, and Bob
Date: 20 Mar 93 14:30:00 GMT

 KCM>   Greetings from Aethelmark!
 KCM>
 KCM>   This is in response to all the hubub over religion and the SCA.
 KCM>   SAs usual, I feel compelled to put my two farthings into the matter.
 KCM>   Firstly, I, like many newbies in the SCA, feel compelled to
 KCM>   adopt a persona. OF course, religion was a *MAJOR* part of the
 KCM>   Medieval mindset, and if I'm to have a realistic persona, should be a
 KCM>   part of my mindset, too.
 KCM>   This is where the problem comes in. I'm Jewish, and there were
 KCM>   not many gently-born Jews in either the Middle Ages or early
 KCM>   Renaissance (I'm not sure when families such as the Rothschilds began
 KCM>   to gain influence). I would either have to choose a personae from the
 KCM>   Middle East, perhaps Byzantium, or that really obscure kingdom from
 KCM>   around the Caspian Sea.

Not necessarily. Depending upon your persona and era, how about the Langue
d'Oc area of early medieval France? The kingdom that existed for some time
between the France of then and what would become Spain had a large and
influential population of Jews of all classes. It was later "crusaded"
against, not just because of theological idiocies about Jews, but because
the local Christians were seriously "heretical", but in its heyday, it was
a great place to be a European Jew! And a bit later, Scotland welcomed Jews
as they were chased out of England. Although that Jew would not likely have
been a large landowner, and a knight in our usual SCA sense, he would very
likely have been a university scholar and respected teacher. Anti-semitism
didn't really hit Scotland until the Reformation, and even then it seems to
have been less of a dose... The Scots seem to have always taken the tack that
being a Scot was such a great advantage that a few hundred (later thousand,
much later wives of different colors) foreigners couldn't hurt anything.

I don't think they were any less biased, just less threatened...

 KCM>       Point three: I've been reading all the Sutton Hoo debates and
 KCM> reports, and I began to think: hmmn, when is a grave not a grave? Or,
 KCM> why are there personal effects laid out sort-of like they were on a
 KCM> corpse, but no organic remains were found?
 KCM>       The answer seems connected to something that we do today: an empty
 KCM> coffin. The people who buried their dead at Sutton Hoo were evidently
 KCM> a seagoing people, so perhaps the chieftan whose grave the
 KCM> archaeologists have been digging up was lost at sea. Or perhaps it was
 KCM> some religious rite (grave of the Unknown Celt?).
 KCM>
One of the better theories, in fact. However, in long-buried remains several


Edited by Mark S. Harris                Jews-msg               Page 6 of 23
things can happen, depending on soil chemistry. In the peat bogs, the bones
and most plant-derived clothing dissolve, leaving an empty skin with hair!

Bury the same sort of corpse in a hollowed-out oak log and you get clothes,
some bones depending upon how long buried and how much water gets in, but
the flesh and skin are turned into a grey soap-like material.

This is why it's such a shame Sutton Hoo was excavated under less-than-
perfect conditions, and before we knew all this soil chemistry stuff...
Now, a good archaeological forensics team could look at the stains in the
soil around the grave goods, and tell you if a body had dissolved, or if the
stains were only iron and other rotted hardware. With Sutton Hoo we may
never know for sure.

... Moreach NicMhaolain


From: v081lu33 at ubvmsc.cc.buffalo.edu (Kenneth C Mondschein)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Renaissance Samauri Jews Revisited
Keywords: Return of the Pestering Newbie
Date: 1 Apr 93 22:49:00 GMT
Organization: University at Buffalo

  Dear Gentles,

      I just had a talk with my World Civilization prof and TA, and I
confirmed a couple of things:
      1.) Jews were fairly tolerated in such Renaissance Italy states as
Venice. It was plausible that a Jewish merchant could rise to a high level.
      2.) There was trading and contact to some extent between the West and
East between 1350-1450 (remember, this is post-Marco Polo).
      3.) A Jewish merchant would be more likely to have contacts in the Mid
East (a vital place for trading bases) than, say, someone with no relatives in
Eretz Yisroel.
      Therefore, Renaissance Samauri Jews are (I think) not inconceivable...
it's CREATIVE anachronism, right?!?!
      Happy Easter and Pesach, and I hope to be meeting the NYC chapter
Monday...

      Ken Mondschein
      Tristan Clair de Lune


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
From: bnostran at lynx.dac.northeastern.edu (Solveig Throndardottir)
Subject: Re: Renaissance Samauri Jews Revisited
Organization: Northeastern University, Boston, MA. 02115, USA
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1993 07:26:15 GMT

Noble Cousins!

It is not necessary to look to Italy for a source for East Asian Jews.
When Marco Polo arrived in Kahn Balik (the capital of China at the
time) there was a thriving Jewish colony there and in several other
Chinese cities some of which were coastal. The chinese jews were
primarily engaged in various sorts of trade. There are two paper


Edited by Mark S. Harris              Jews-msg              Page 7 of 23
back books available on Chinese jews:

Michael Pollak, Mandarins, Jews and Missionaries
Jews in Old China

Perhaps the largest or at least most interesting Jewish colony was
at Kaifeng. There were also colonies of Nestorian Christians and
Muslims. The Muslims were distinguished from Jews in China by the
color of their hats. Muslims wore white hats and Jews blue hats.

Thus, it is only necessary for Jews to migrate across the sea of
Japan to arrive in Japan. Further, social status was rather fluid
until the (post-period) Tokugawa Bakufu. Thus, it is conceivable
that that there were jewish samurai. This is in fact the subject
of a Japanese Manga series which bases its premis partly on a
superficial resemblence between religious practicies at a certain
Japanese religious cite and jewish religious practices (specifically
wearing teffilin and blowing the shofar.)

                              Your Humble Servant
                              Solveig Throndardottir
                              Totally Ignorant


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
From: mjc+ at cs.cmu.edu (Monica Cellio)
Subject: Shabbos and events
Organization: School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1993 17:09:15 GMT

Greetings from Ellisif!

I have a question, inspired by the recent discussions of dealing with Shabbos,
for those few who have Jewish persona who are not mundanely Jewish: why do
you assume that events are on Shabbos?

We modern people hold events on Saturday because that is convenient for us.
People who are mundanely Jews need to therefore observe Shabbos. (And
similarly, for those weekend events, the mundanely Christian have
restrictions.) However, is it necessarily the case that the day we are
recreating was Shabbos?

Examples: 12th night would have been celebrated on 12th night, and not the
nearest weekend, yes? The feast of St. So-and-So would have been celebrated
on that day. I know nothing about whether there were traditional days for
tourneys (in certain times and places), but it's a research area that might
yield some interesting results.

Given this, would it not be plausible, from a persona point of view, to
assume that Shabbos is on whatever dates it falls on in the year your
persona thinks it is, and not when it falls in 1993? Would this be a way
for those with Jewish persona to be able to participate in Saturday events?
(Of course, if your persona's current year is synced with the modern year,
there's no effect.)

Yes, I realize that not everyone knows what year it is persona-wise, and not
everyone even has a developed persona. But the people without developed


Edited by Mark S. Harris                Jews-msg            Page 8 of 23
personas probably aren't facing this problem.

And a related question: how do those SCA folk who are mundanely religious but
whose personas aren't (at least in that religion) handle the need to observe
at events? Is it sort of like running out to the car to get your armor --
something you break persona for just because you have to?

Just curious.

Ellisif/Monica, the latter of whom is not in the least religious
mjc at cs.cmu.edu


From: Bjorn at f120.n109.z1.fidonet.org (Bjorn)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Real Names in the SCA
Date: Mon, 03 May 1993 15:18:00 -0500

Nahum <FNKLSHTN at acfcluster.nyu.edu> said:

f>   When I started thinking about registering my name some helpful heralds
f>   told me that the easiest way to document a Jewish name is to send a
f>   copy of a Bris or Bar Mitzva certificate (or a conversion certificate
f>   for those who werre adopted into the tribe).

The absolutely easiest way to document a Jewish name is to show its use
in the Jewish scriptures. Since bibles can be found in almost any library,
this provides a readily accessable reference. If a particular name does
not occur in the bible, then the method above would be the next easiest.

Bjorn Bjorklund, Storvik, Atlantia


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
From: fnklshtn at ACF1.NYU.EDU
Subject: Real Names in the SCA (documenting from the Bible)
Organization: New York University, NY, NY
Date: Wed, 5 May 1993 01:36:09 GMT

Bjorn states: "The absolutely easiest way to document a Jewish name is to
show its use in the Jewish scriptures."
Just to add a caveat, if you use a translation the name may often be so
anglicised (or translated to whatever language) that it bears very little
relation to the actual Jewish name.
Examples:
Jeremiah - Yeremiahu
Solomon - Shlomo
Elija     - Eliahu
Et cetera.

Sholom!
Nahum haKuzar (we Kuzars is not known for our scholarship, but we mean well)
<FNKLSHTN at acfcluster.nyu.edu>


From: cozzlab at garnet.berkeley.edu ()
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


Edited by Mark S. Harris                Jews-msg              Page 9 of 23
Subject: Re: Real Names in the SCA (documenting from the Bible)
Date: 5 May 1993 12:56:50 GMT
Organization: University of California, Berkeley

In article <C6J5sA.564 at cmcl2.nyu.edu> fnklshtn at ACF1.NYU.EDU writes:
>Bjorn states: "The absolutely easiest way to document a Jewish name is to
>show its use in the Jewish scriptures."
>Just to add a caveat, if you use a translation the name may often be so
>anglicised (or translated to whatever language) that it bears very little
>relation to the actual Jewish name.

Not just anglicized ... well-worn Bible names have made the transition
Hebrew > Aramaic > Greek > Latin > Anglo-Saxon > Middle English >
Modern English, with at least the opportunity for sound changes at
every stage.

Take the name of the patriarch called, in English Bibles, Jacob:
The Hebrew is something like Yaakov (others will correct me as needed);
the Greek is Iako:b (where o: is long o, written omega); the Latin
is Jacobus. And Modern English calls him Jacob. Fine. However,
the brother of St. John, whose bones wound up at Compostela, is
known as James. I don't know, though it would be interesting to find
out, what peculiar string of sound changes produced James.

Even the Spanish "Santiago" is easier to figure out: there's a line
in "El Cid:"

Los moros llaman Mafomat, y los cristianos sante Yague.
The Moors call on Mohammed, and the Christians on Saint James.

Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin            Dorothy J. Heydt
Mists/Mists/West              UC Berkeley
Argent, a cross forme'e sable       cozzlab at garnet.berkeley.edu


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
From: mittle at watson.ibm.com (Arval Balance)
Subject: Re: Real Names in the SCA (documenting from the Bible)
Date: Thu, 6 May 1993 20:38:08 GMT
Organization: IBM T.J. Watson Research

Pagan asked:

>   I'll comment in haste and document at leisure, but I believe you'll find that
>   James and Jacob are etymologically the "same" name. I suspect you'll also
>   find that anyone in the OT called Jacob was known to friends and family by
>   the same name as anyone in the NT called James, in much the same way that OT
>   Miriams are NT Marys.
>
>   Can someone tell me whether this is because one lot were translated from
>   Hebrew and the other lot from Greek? Or was it just a tradition in
>   translation?

I discussed James/Jacob in another posting.    Withycombe has this to say
about Mary, Miriam et al.

    Miriam: Hebrew... Miriam is the form of the name used in most versions of


Edited by Mark S. Harris                Jews-msg             Page 10 of 23
  the Bible for the sister of Moses and Aaron. It came into use as a
  christian name in England after the Reformation, and is a favourite name
  among the Jews.

  Mary: Hebrew... Miriam... is the same name. The consonants of the Hebrew
  word are MRYM, and when vowels were inserted in about the 7th C AD, it
  became Miryam; the Septuagint, however, vocalized it as Mariam, and this is
  the usual form in he Greek New Testament both for the Blessed Virgin and
  for Mary sister of Lazarus, while Maria is most often used for the other
  Marys. The Vulgate (probably owing to a mistaken idea that Mariam was an
  accusative in -am) adopted Maria for all of them.

She goes on to note that Mary appears in England as early as 1082, but did
not become common until the end of the 12th century, with diminutives
Mariot, Marion, Mall, Moll, Mariota, Malkyn. Elsewhere, she notes that
Josephus renders the Hebrew name as Mariamne.
===========================================================================
Arval Balance                                         mittle at watson.ibm.com


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
From: mittle at watson.ibm.com (Arval Benicoeur)
Subject: Re: Real Names in the SCA
Date: Wed, 5 May 1993 19:37:18 GMT
Organization: IBM T.J. Watson Research

Greetings from Arval!

Bjorn wrote:

> The absolutely easiest way to document a Jewish name is to show its use
> in the Jewish scriptures.

And Cathan wrote:

> A bris or Bar Mitzva certificate may be the easiest way to document a
> Jewish name, but you don't have to use your own. Any Bris or Bar Mitzva
> certificate would have the same value.

I'd like to make a few points.

A name on a bris certificate in not necessarily a period Jewish name:
Modern Israelis have invented _many_ new Hebrew names, usually by using
plant, animal, or gem nouns as given names. As with any other modern name
stock, jsut because it is traditional does not mean it is medieval. A bris
certificate is no better as documentation than a driver's license.

A name in the Bible - New, Old, Quran, or Apocrypha - is not necessarily a
medieval name. As long as the name is used for a human being, it will
probably be acceptable under the College's rules for submissions, but that
doesn't mean that it was a name used in medieval Europe. Among Christians,
only a very few Old Testament were used before the very end of our period.
Among Jews and Moslems, many Old Testament names remained in use, but not
all. The best way to choose a name for SCA use is to pick something that
you've found in medieval literature or history.




Edited by Mark S. Harris              Jews-msg             Page 11 of 23
Cathan also wrote:

>   Also, even the certificate (assuming that it were your own) would NOT
>   mean that you could use your WHOLE name, merely an element of it... You
>   are allowed under the current rules of submission to use a _single_
>   element of your given name...

You can _use_ anything you want to use. The rules for submissions do not
regulate usage, just registration. If you want to use your entire mundane
name or a religious name as your SCA name, and it is a proper medieval
name, then use it.
===========================================================================
Arvaldus d'Espas Nord                                 mittle at watson.ibm.com


From: hjfeld at acs2.bu.edu (harold feld)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: America (long; sorry)
Date: 21 May 93 17:40:00 GMT
Organization: Boston University, Boston, MA, USA

Unto all who read these words, greetings from Yaakov! Long has it been since I have
had leisure to partake of the intellectual pleasures of this forum, and hope that what
I may now say has not been said now so many times as to become burdensome and
repetetive. I must also confess that I missed the original post. But I could not
stop myself when seeing the most beauteous, knowledgable, and curteous Angharad
holding forth on a topic on which I may claim somewhat less ignorance than I usually
must admit.

In article <1993May14.001520.13476 at mintaka.lcs.mit.edu>, greg at silver.lcs.mit.edu
(Hossein Ali Qomi (mka Gregory F. Rose)) writes:
|> Greetings all, especially Nahum haZev of Kuzaristan, from Angharad ver'
|> Rhuawn, posting from Hossein's account since her feed has gone down.
|>
|> In a thoughtful response, Nahum writes of my posting,
|>
|> >Re. Arrogance: The original post that I was commenting on had made a broad
|> >statement that names in period have no meaning. The term "period" to me,
|> >implies "time" not place. If he would have said "Europe" he would have been
|> >right (though not completely - if you consider the Jews - as I demonstrated
|> >in that post).
|>
|> I agree that "period" would normally mean time -- but the posting had to do
|> with SCA naming traditions. In that context, if it is not part of the usual
|> SCA area as well as time, it doesn't seem to me that there's anything wrong
|> with leaving it out, or any particular reason to explain why it has been
|> left out. (As to the significance or lack of it of Jewish names in period:
|> I leave this to others who know more of it than I. But while changing
|> orthography and pronunciation to fit local languages is a widespread
|> Jewish practice then and now, I have never heard of a Jew _translating_
|> his/her name into the local vernacular for use, which is what that posting
|> argued against. Do you know of instances of this?)

Many, period examples of this exist in both Christendom and the lands of Al-Islam. In
Christendom, Jews signed legal documents with both Hebrew and latin versions of their
names. Period Jewish seals reflect this by frequently having both names. The design
has a nice symetry, since the writings run in opposite directions. Typically, the


Edited by Mark S. Harris               Jews-msg             Page 12 of 23
latin (or vernacular on some German seals) version the first name and |(if there is
one) surname, but not necessarily the patronimic. Thus, if I had a seal, it might rea
d (along the bottom edge) Iaccobus Orientalis and (along the top edge) Yaakov
HaMizrachi ben Avraham. I don't have my documentation with me, but I can look it up
when I'm home if people are interested.

Of course, we cannot tell from this what names people used in conversation. For all
we know, Jews used their vernacular names all the time when dealing with non-Jews.
(Today, for example, I am known to the non-SCA world as "Harold Feld", the name Harold
is derived from the Yiddish 'Hirsch,' which comes from the Hebrew 'tzvi', meaning deer
(the animal, but in the poetic/liturgical hebrew of the middle ages it can also mean
'precious.') If I am in Israel, I'm 'Tzvi', and if I'm called to the torah or signing
a formal Jewish document, I'm
Tzvi Yaakov ben Avraham Arye.
In the Islamic world, Moslems refered to Jews by their arabic names. (I have somehwere
a poem written by an Arab in praise of R' Moses ben Maimon, it uses his Arabic name.)

As for the meaning of names, there are others who may discourse on them more than I.
Many Jewish names in period were biblical, and the Bible gives the reason they were
given to the original person. (ex: Avraham=Av hamon goiyim= founder of many nations.
ex: And he was covered with hair, therefore was he named 'Esau' (which means 'hair').
Some names come from the title of a persons work, especially if they were famous for
it in their own time. e.g. Keseph Mishne (a commentator on Maimonides). People were
also called by an acronym of their given name (Rambam=R' Moshe ben Maimon) or people
were given a nickname relating to their life (Rashi was called by his grandchildren
(in their commentaries) as 'Koontrus' (notebook) because of his habit of leaving out
study books for them. People were also known as 'of a place' or 'profession.'

|> -- Angharad/Terry

In Service,
Yaakov HaMizrachi


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
From: nusbache at epas.utoronto.ca (Aryk Nusbacher)
Subject: Re: Jewish garb and period symbols of fealty
Organization: University of Toronto - EPAS
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1993 18:03:59 GMT
Keywords: Jewish,garb,fealty

In article <21hke7$9k1 at usenet.rpi.edu> butlej at aix.rpi.edu (Jennifer Ann Butler)
writes:

>     I was wondering if anyone would be able to tell me some good
>sources of information on the type of garb/clothing that a Jewish
>person would wear in England/London around 1500-1600. I read that
>Jewish people were not looked favorably on and I heard that this might even
>include them wearing clothing that would definately tell other people that
>'Hey, I am Jewish.'

There were no Jews allowed in England between 1290 and 1656. As such,
any Jews in England (and there were still Jews in England, though damned
few), were necessarily crypto-Jews. By the 16th century, there were
Spanish, Portugese and Dutch Jews doing business in London, and some
settled there; and the governor of one of the Channel Islands in the
16th century was apparently a Jew, but they did not practice their


Edited by Mark S. Harris              Jews-msg             Page 13 of 23
religion openly.

Elsewhere in Europe, Jews in the 16th century had largely been
permitted to abandon the old Jews' marks such as the yellow circle and
the pointed hat. The scholar's biretta was very commonly worn among
Jews, however -- almost as distinctive as the kippah is today.

>     Also, what would a person (servant,etc) wear to show that
>they are working for/in a certain household. (Also around 1500-1600
>but in Italy). WOuld they wear baldrics, badges, braided ribbons around
>their shoulders, a necklace or ring? Any help here?

Things to look for are livery uniforms, big ciphers (like a
monogrammed sweater), and medallions. A "baldric" in the sense of a
cross-sash is possible -- the rest of Europe was using them as a
military identification sign at the time. Hanging a sword off of a
shoulder strap was not especially fashionable in the 16th century, though.

Braided ribbons around the shoulder, called an "aguillette" when worn
by military aides-de-camp, or "chicken guts" as I belive the Yanks
call them, originated later as part of a horse-groom's horse-holding
equipment. The smaller cords which just go around the shoulder,
called a fourragere by the Yanks, and a lanyard or whistle cord by the
rest of the English-speaking world, date to the 19th century, when
they were intended to hold an officer's whistle.

Aryk


Subject: Jewdaism in SCA
From: fnklshtn
Date: 11 Aug 1993 06:27:04 GMT

Shalom David!

The Jewish culture of the middle ages was rich, varied, and is easier to
reasearch than many other cultures as we tend to be annoyingly literate.
(and Jewdaism forbids throwing away writing with G-d's name on it)
Persona play does not need to be extreme unless you want it to be -
No one will grumble if you eat at a feast (except people that are probably
not fun to play with anyhow).
If you keep Kosher for real (or wish to play at it) - go off-board
you don't get to taste the various foods but you get to participate
in the rest of the fun.
Alternatively, take Daniels example and eat only vegetables (of course, if
you are mundanely Kosher this alternative wont work).
  Most importantly, pick a good Jewish name, wear distinctive clothing
(I still have not seen anyone in a yellow cone hat - not being European it
is not appropriate to me, but I'd love to see them pop up every so often)
do your reasearch, and sticjk in a grumble a or two every so often
(kvetch that is)

AND IF YOUR COMMING TO PENSIC --
    COME TO THE SHABBOS SERVICES (definitely one Friday night, hopefully
        the others as well)
See me or Yaakov haMizrahi for details.
I am camping in Ostgardr. My buckler has an immage iof a Lion and


Edited by Mark S. Harris              Jews-msg             Page 14 of 23
the letters Mem - Kaf - Beis - Yod (color is natural wood)
The tent next to mine belongs to Tristan (how a nice Jewish boy got
such a Goish name I'll never know). His shield is heater shaped.
It is purple, with the immage of a white, winged sperm (all right, he
maintains it's not a sperm - but it sure looks like one).

G-d's peace to you!
Nahum benGershom haZev of Kuzaristan <FNKLSHTN at acfcluster.nyu.edu>


From: moonman at amiganet.chi.il.us (Craig Levin)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: JUDAISM IN SCA?
Date: 11 Aug 93 14:38:13 CST
Organization: Amiga Network Information Systems

dzinner at desire.wright.edu writes:

>I have a serious question. I have a lot of friends in SCA, so I know a little
>about it. It seems to me that SCA is an idealized anachronism, and that's
>just fine. But this idealization is still based on an historical reality-
>a Medieval, Christian society. What I want to know is, how can I incorporate
>my Jewishness into SCA? To be historically accurate, a medieval Jew wouldn't
>even eat at the same table with Christians. I know that SCA is (in part) in
>fun, but it has taken our people a few millenia to get to where we can be
>proud of our religion and heritage, and I don't want to bury it for what
>otherwise seems like a great way to pass the time. I would be especially
>interested inhearing from any Jews already.
>
>               David Zinner

        Hi there! I'm mundanely Reform, and so I'm personally
willing to bend the rules to begin with. As for my persona, he's
a Portuguese gentleman of partially Jewish descent-many Iberian
nobles had at least one ancestor of Moorish or Jewish descent-and
since his time is pre-Inquisition (in Portugal, the whole mess
started after Spain made some rather impolite threats around the
expulsion in 1492, and even then...), he really doesn't consider
faith to be much of an issue.

        I know some folk out there who try to be strictly Orthodox
in re-enactment, and I have a great deal of respect for them, but
alas no names come to mind.

moonman at amiganet.chi.il.us               (Craig Levin)
Pedro de Alcazar, Tre Girt Sea, Midrealm, formerly of Illiton


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
From: vincent at Micor.OCUnix.on.ca (Victor W. Wong)
Subject: Re: JUDAISM IN SCA?
Organization: M.B. Cormier INC.
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 93 19:40:15 EDT

dzinner at desire.wright.edu writes:

> I have a serious question.   I have a lot of friends in SCA, so I know a littl


Edited by Mark S. Harris               Jews-msg             Page 15 of 23
>    about it. It seems to me that SCA is an idealized anachronism, and that's
>    just fine. But this idealization is still based on an historical reality-
>    a Medieval, Christian society. What I want to know is, how can I incorporate
>    my Jewishness into SCA? To be historically accurate, a medieval Jew wouldn't
>    even eat at the same table with Christians. I know that SCA is (in part) in
>    fun, but it has taken our people a few millenia to get to where we can be
>    proud of our religion and heritage, and I don't want to bury it for what
>    otherwise seems like a great way to pass the time. I would be especially
>    interested inhearing from any Jews already.

A couple of points you might want to be aware of:

1.    The SCA is what the Middle Ages _should_ have been, not what they
      actually were. Consequently certain social norms (such as the
      separation of the Jews) CAN be tossed out the window, and no one
      in their right mind will object.

2.    Remember that certain sub-segments of European society were more
      tolerant of Judaism than others, and also that our current Middle
      Ages also encompasses the Middle East, for trade purposes.

That having been said, one of the things you can do is investigate
the Judaic customs and traditions that would have been prevalent at
the time of your persona's period. Are they any different than the
customs today? Are there traditions that aren't done anymore? That
sort of thing.

Good Luck!

…ÕÕÕÕÕÕÕÕÕª
∫8 8 8 8 8∫    VINCENT THE CALCULATOR
ÃÕÕÕÕÕÕÕÕÕπ    mka Victor Wong
∫8 8 8 8 8∫    vincent at micor.ocunix.on.ca
∫8 8 8 8 8∫    Member, Compagnie Mercurie
»ÕÕÕÕÕÕÕÕÕº


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
From: mittle at watson.ibm.com (Arval d'Espas Nord)
Subject: Re: Knights, Squires, Ret
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 1993 17:56:16 GMT
Organization: IBM T.J. Watson Research

Malachi wrote:
>     For instance, I would presume that, medieval knighthoods being
>     a predominantly Christian and Islamic thing, that a Jewish
>     persona would prefer Mastery of Arms to Knighthood...as MIGHT,
>     for instance, a Mongol in a primarily Celtic court...

While medieval Jewish knights were rare, they were by no means unheard of.
Some information on this subject can be found in Eleazar ha-Levi's article
on Jewish Heraldry in the Caidan KWHS proceedings.
===========================================================================
Arval d'Espas Nord                                   mittle at watson.ibm.com


From: moonman at camelot.bradley.edu (Craig Levin)


Edited by Mark S. Harris                Jews-msg             Page 16 of 23
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Mr. Dickerson-help with Sephardic persona
Date: 6 Oct 1993 16:21:39 -0500
Organization: House of the Moss Rose

To: dickerso at gomez.stortek.com Date: Tue, 5 Oct 93 23:48:58 CDT

I tried twice from my usual site to reach you, but it kept bouncing.
I've tried from this site, and it bounced again. Please do not take
the length of time from query to response as a lack of zeal to help.

I found several books of worth.
JS Gerber's THE JEWS OF SPAIN
Chaim Raphael's 2 books-THE ROAD FROM BABYLON and THE SEPHARDI STORY
V Laredo's SEPHARDIC SPAIN
E Ashtor's THE JEWS OF MOSLEM SPAIN
E. Bediner's THE RISE AND FALL OF PARADISE
--
Craig\The Moonman\Levin         Pedro de Alcazar
moonman at camelot.bradley.edu      Shire of Dernehealde, Midrealm


From: nusbache at epas.utoronto.ca (Aryk Nusbacher)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Ghetto establ. 1516 in Venice
Date: 18 Oct 1993 10:29:07 -0400
Organization: EPAS Computing Facility, University of Toronto

In article <1993Oct18.091437.1 at nickel.laurentian.ca> jliedl at nickel.laurentian.ca
writes:

>So, no ghetto until 1516--at least not in so many words.

The _Vicus Judaeorum_ was mandated by the Fourth Lateran Council in
1215. The Spanish name was the Juderia. The Portugese: Jueiaria.
The French: Juiverie. Provencal: Carriere des Juifs. The German:
Judenviertel or Judengasse. England: Jewry or Jews' Street.

Alternate etymologies for the word "ghetto" include abbreviations of
Borghetto (it. quarter) and Guitto (tusc. dirty).

Italy was the slowest area to respond to the requirement of a ghetto.
Rome didn't get around to it until 1556, responding to an additional
bull by Paul IV (Papa Carafa); but not until the Council of Milan in
1565 was the bull enforced.

Aryk "The Man with the Ghetto Mentality" Nusbacher


From: nusbache at epas.utoronto.ca (Aryk Nusbacher)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Ghetto establ. 1516 in Venice
Date: 19 Oct 1993 10:08:06 -0400
Organization: EPAS Computing Facility, University of Toronto

jliedl at nickel.laurentian.ca writes:



Edited by Mark S. Harris                 Jews-msg           Page 17 of 23
>Incidentally, Mr. Nusbacher, you would be the one to fill me in on
>the question of Erez Yisrael. I understood that many Sephardic Jews
>fled there beginning in 1391 and had established quite a community
>there by the time it was absorbed by the Ottoman Empire in 1516.

Starting in 1391 saves me discussing the Persian invasion, and of
course the Arab invasion, coming like (all together now) a hot wind
out of the desert.

Andalus and the Maghreb started to   get uncomfortable for Jews in the
middle of the twelfth century when   the Almodhads started to run the
show. Unfortunately, that applied    to half of the Mediterranean rim;
with the guiding force coming from   a caliph shouting "Islam or death".

Abd-al-muman (if I remember his name correctly), the caliph, allowed
free emigration, however. Egypt seemed to be less concerned with the
Islam-or-death concept, and as an added plus wasn't filled with a lot
of foaming Franks the way Palestine was.

In 1391, the vicar-general of Seville, one Ferrand Martinez, led a
massacre which accounted for four thousand men killed -- the women and
children were sold into slavery.

From 1391 to the expulsion from Portugal at the end of the century,
Jews were leaving Iberia. One of the destinations was Erez Israel;
and there was a continual trickle of immigration for years before the
Turks showed up. A lot of the immigration was to Jerusalem, Tiberias,
and Tsefat. Most of these people came for religious reasons --
economic migrants went to Egypt, Italy, or the big banana of cities,
Baghdad.

There was quite a colony of people at Tsefat, which is a mountain
fastness in the lower Galilee, blessed with relatively cool weather;
as opposed to Tiberias; which is so hot that only a Roman could build
it as a vacation spot.

The people in Tsefat occupied themselves with kabalah -- rather like
the Natural Law Party in the current Canadian election. These
mystical fellows attracted more and more people as they got turfed out
of the rest of the world.

Once the Turks were in charge, and it was possible to travel to Erez
Israel and live there in some safety; a lot more Jews flowed in. Many
of them went to the same places: Jerusalem, Tiberias and Tsefat.

As far as I've been able to tell, the main industries of the Jewish
settlement in Eretz Israel in the fourteenth through the eighteenth
centuries was mysticism, with a strong sideline of talmudic study.
This entailed having a large staff of beggars who would wander around
Europe collecting money and sending it back to Tsefat or Jerusalem.

It was a pretty miserable place, without even the benefit of a
national chain of Pizza-Patzatz shops to provide standardised snack
food throughout the country.

How's that for a capsule history?



Edited by Mark S. Harris                Jews-msg             Page 18 of 23
Aryk Nusbacher


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
From: kharding at lamar.ColoState.EDU (Karol Harding)
Subject: JEWISH PERSONAS-READ THIS
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1993 16:59:04 GMT
Organization: Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523

I have been researching Jewish/sephardic and Ladino for some
time, and can never seem to get a response when I ask for info,
so I am posting the following in case anyone else is interested:

REFERENCE AVAIL:
Rabbi Shmuel Gorr, "Jewish Personal Names, Their Origin,
Derivation, and Diminutive Forms. (Teaneck, N.J.: Avotaynu, Inc.
Write them at: PO box 1134, Teaneck, NJ 07666
(Haven't seen this one, but it sounds useful)

SEPHARDIC MUSIC
can be ordered from: Dr. Judith Cohen, 751 Euclid Ave, Toronto,
Canada M6G 2V3. Phone/fax 416/533-266.
She is preparing a CD/cassette on the songs of medieval spain,
which is due out in early 1994. I have asked to be notified
when it's available. Let me know if you're interested and I
can post or reply.

Shalom!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                | ...The moment one knows how, one begins
     CHALA THE JOYFUL DANCER    | to die a little. Living is a form of not
                                | being sure, of not knowing what next or
    (\o/) (\o/) (\o/) (\o/)     | how.....One leaps in the dark!
    (/|\) (/|\) (/|\) (/|\)     | -Agnes Demille, Dance Choreographer
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


From: augment at world.std.com (Michael Bergman)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: mediaeval jewish music
Date: 7 Apr 1994 23:34:13 -0500

I thought that this might be of interest to people.   Its from
rec.music.early

------- Forwarded Message

Forwarded: Fri, 08 Apr 1994 00:25:59 -0400
Forwarded: "dagoura at mit.edu "
Subject: Medieval Sephardic Music from Spain   [rec.music.early #8738]

- ------ Forwarded Article <9403300020.AA16884 at software.pulse.com>
- ------ From Dave Lampson <dave.lampson at PULSE.COM>

I recently got a fascinating CD that I thought the group might like to know
about. It is the second disc in a series called the "Jewels of Sephardim"
exploring the medieval Spanish/Jewish balladry preserved by the Sephardim,


Edited by Mark S. Harris              Jews-msg              Page 19 of 23
descendants of the Jews of medieval Spain.

This new release, titled "Wings of Time: The Sephardic Legacy of Multi-
Cultural Medieval Spain" (Songbird Music AEACD 1405 55:47) features
vocalist and dulcimer player Lauren Pomerantz joined by three
instrumentalists who have appeared on Ensemble Alcatraz' albums (Danse
Royale and Visions & Miracles, at least): Kit Higginson, recorder and
psaltry; Shira Kammen, vielle and rebec; and Peter Maund, percussion.

In the five centuries before the diaspora created by the inquisition, Spain
flourished as a multi-cultural crossroads bringing together the cultures of
the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. This music, sung beautifully in
Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) provides a unique glimpse into this culture. I
highly recommend it to anyone intersted in music from this time. This
release, as well as the earlier volume titled "Jewels of Sephardim: Songs
from Medieval Spain", complement the Gallician, Anglo-Norman, French and
Latin music to be found on the Ensemble Alcatraz albums giving the listener
a overview of the musical styles in Western Europe during that period. If
you like Ensemble Alcatraz, and/or have interest in the music of the Near
East and how it has affected Western music, you'll find much of interest
here, to say nothing of the skilled and passionate music-making that make
this disc more than worthwhile in it's own right. Have I mentioned the
wonderfully transparent, ambient, and well-balanced recording? Highly
recommended.

I understand that these CDs are available at Tower Records (mail order
1-800-648-4844) and through a couple of other small distributors (let me
know if you need this info). You can also get them directly from Songbird
Music. Apparently they are not set up to take credit cards, but if you
send a check or money order they say they can ship it to you First Class
within a day.

   Pricing, which includes   postage and handling:
   Wings of Time CD:         $15
   Wings of Time cassette:   $10
   Jewels of the Sephardim   CD:   $15
   Jewels of the Sephardim   cass: $10

Both recordings include the lyrics and translations in the CD and
cassette. Address:

   Songbird Music
   271 Tamarisk Court
   Walnut Creek, CA 94598-3629

   Phone: 510 938-4003

For those who wish to charge it, you may order it through either Tower or:

   The Musical Offering (Berkeley)
   1-800 466-0211

Dave
lampson at pulse.com

- ------ End of Forwarded Article



Edited by Mark S. Harris                Jews-msg           Page 20 of 23
From: Thomas S. Arnold <tarnold at hamp.hampshire.edu>
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Jewish Personae
Date: 8 Jan 1995 07:48:31 GMT
Organization: Hampshire College

Carabeth, carabeth at aol.com writes:
>Actually, Aleksandr, what surprises me is the small number of Jews I've
>seen in the SCA who have Jewish personas. I must admit, my own persona is
>not Jewish. I attribute the lack of Jews having Jewish personas to a lack
>of knowledge (yes, among Jews) of Jewish history. As was said in a few
>former posts, Jewish history is extremely rich, but those who have never
>studied it may think that it is not as "exotic" as that of other cultures,
>such as Islam.

How exotic do you want it?

C'mere, Sappy.   Good soapbox...   <pat> <pat>   *ahem*

I find the lack of knowledge of Jewish history, culture, language,
custom, and especially law among Jews to be the most depressing thing
I've ever experienced. I think I have found a reason for it though, and
it comes out of the Jewish experience in Europe (of all places).

Our usual vision of the Period Jew is that of a scholar or merchant, but
his was not always so. In fact, we can find examples of European Jews as
late as the First crusade going out to battle the enemy.

Jews were the advisors and doctors to kings, and often perturbed the
Christian communities nearby for attracting converts among the pagans
(Something the Church had tried at for quite some time...). A woman had
rights under Jewish Law, which put her in a better camp than Christian
law. Because of the laws of physical and spiritual cleanliness, (Jews
wash their hands before they eat and after they defecate. It's not just
politeness, it's da LAW!!) Jews had a lower infant mortality rate, and a
better standard of living. It's too bad things fell apart at the end of
the 11th century.

The First Crusade was the first Christian attempt at mass
force-conversions. As one teacher once put it: "They offered the sword
in one hand, and the cross in the other. The Jews could either kiss the
cross or the sword. The fact that there are Jews today is because they
kissed the sword."

Within only a few centuries, Jews were describing (Did I mention that
most Jews were also literate?) in their journals the atrocities visited
upon them daily as though they were common occurrences. They accepted as
their lot the abuse and violence of the surrounding peoples. It wasn't
the pagans that the Jews had to worry about, though. It was the Church.
As Europe became Christian, the Jews became not _an_ other people, but
_the_ other people. There was no escape. (The Spanish Kings were
actually very nice to the Jews until they became Catholic...) When the
Catholic nobility were done stripping them of a thousand years of
development, they sent the Jews east, expelling them.

As Jews became more and more hated and despised, they began believing the


Edited by Mark S. Harris                Jews-msg           Page 21 of 23
rhetoric about them. There were no Jewish rebellions, for they knew all
of Europe was rallied against them. The Jews accepted their lot, and
when the "Modern" age came, many cheerfully abandoned their Jewish
identity that weighed upon them as a chain. However, the "Modern"
Germans didn't care _how_ assimilated the Jews were. Rich or poor,
observant or assimilated, they were rounded up. And it happened only 50
years ago. With the creation of the state of Israel, the Jew has
changed. Now, we have an airforce... <;-D

But today, A people that would once willingly die rather than have a
Priest sprinkle water on them can't recall what Moses' mother's name was
or his birthday.

Bet you they can tell us the day celebrated for Jesus... How about his
mother's name? I recently talked to a guy who had converted to
Christianity because he claimed there was no spirituality in Judaism...

It took only a few questions to discover... he never looked. In 5000
years we haven't been able to infuse Judaism with Joy? Gimme a break.

I know Joy.   She goes to my shul.

>Jewish history is also so broad and so deep that it is not
>surprising for a Jew not to know a great deal of it. One of my recent
>pursuits has been learning about my Jewish heritage. I think it's time
to
>change that persona...

Anybody who needs sources, just drop me a line... Any aspect of Judaism,
I bet I can find ten books. On Jewish Law, I can name 63 off the top of
my head.

<;-D   (Sappy, you can go now...     Here's some Ivory. )

Shavuah Tov,
Thomas The Tent-Peg of Bergental


From: sclark at blues.epas.utoronto.ca (Susan Carroll-Clark)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Events on Shabbat and Other Chagim
Date: 9 Jan 1995 21:29:33 GMT
Organization: University of Toronto -- EPAS

Greetings!
      A few minor quibbles on Thomas' post on Jewish history:

      Actually, the first age of massive forced conversions is in
Visigothic Spain (which Thomas alludes to when he says "The
Spanish kings were nice to Jews before they became Catholics--
before this conversion by Reccared in 590 (?) , the Visigoths were
Arian Christians and considered heretics!)
      The First Crusade instituted an era of periodic persecutions,
but no real attempts at mass conversion. The most violent
of these were during the First Crusade, where a number of Jewish
settlements were annhialated by errant Crusader riffraff.
Many of these Jews did not choose to submit, but rather committed


Edited by Mark S. Harris                  Jews-msg          Page 22 of 23
suicide. These bloodbaths were pretty much restricted to the
Rheinland, though. Believe it or not, the Church
condemned those who had taken part in these things, and tried to
squelch them (one bishop actually got the Crusaders to
go away and saved the entire Jewish community in Speyer).
      The next phase is expulsions--in England in 1290 and then
in France early the next century. Jews could either convert
or go away. Most of them chose to leave. (It seems that the main
motivation was so that the kings of England a France could
take over loans owed to Jews and make $$$$$)
      Finally, when you get to later medieval Spain, then you
get the big-deal forced conversions Many Jews went
"underground" at that point, accepting baptism and seemingly
becoming Christians, but continuing to practice the Jewish faith
in secret.

Regards--
Nicolaa/Susan
Canton of Eoforwic
sclark at epas.utoronto.ca

<the end>




Edited by Mark S. Harris            Jews-msg             Page 23 of 23

				
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